Ballot propositions gauge voter opinions on current political issues

Voting for Republican and Democratic propositions takes place at Cesar Chavez Middle School. Peter Enoch | Multimedia Journalist.

By Caleigh Dalton | Reporter

All Republican propositions led with affirmative votes by a large margin in early voting with more than 200,000 votes counted statewide. Republican Proposition 8, which is election officials being able to “purge illegal voters from voter rolls,” led with the highest number of votes.

Democratic propositions led with affirmative votes in early voting, with more than 130,000 votes statewide. Democratic Proposition 3 on the “right to clean air, safe water and a responsible climate policy” led with the highest number of votes.

In the March 3 elections, voters were given 10 to 11 opinion polls, called propositions, on high-profile party issues at the bottom of their voting ballot. Each party ballot poses written statements for the voters check whether they approve or reject the statement.

The propositions in the primary are used to gauge voter opinions in order for both political parties to improve their strategy going into the November elections and to help determine legislative priority for various bills.

“Every state is different in how it’s set up. Some states may have more [propositions], some may have less … For example, California is notorious for how many they have,” Dr. Curt Nichols, a professor of political science, said.

Propositions can be examples of direct democracy, where citizens get to approve or reject legislation, though “anything on a primary [proposition] won’t become law,” Nichols said.

The Republican ballot asks about issues such as prayer in public schools and possession of firearms.

The Republican proposition goes on pose statements about “the construction of a physical barrier … along the entire southern border of Texas,” and gauging voter sentiment on “the directives of the Office of the Governor to purge illegal voters from the voter rolls.”

The Democratic propositions include issues such as climate change, the criminal justice system, discrimination and healthcare.

The ballot has two propositions that refer to racial discrimination. Proposition 9 is on “The Right to a Fair Criminal Justice System” to put “an end to the mass and disproportionate incarceration of people of color for minor offenses,” and Proposition 5 is “The Right to Dignity and Respect,” asking voters if they feel that everyone deserves to be free from “discrimination and harassment anywhere.”